Skip to content

Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

A warm weather pattern in late February caused soil temperatures across most of Iowa to rise above 40 degrees F.  ISUEO Agronomist Brian Lang notes that this is was likely warm enough long enough for alfalfa and some forage grasses (most ryegrass varieties and the less winterhardy orchardgrass and tall fescue varieties) to break dormancy.  However, when low temperatures recur, alfalfa plants can reharden to a degree, but only to the extent that it still has stored carbohydrates available. Winter injury occurs either with enough warm-cold cycles to use up the carbohydrates, or if the temperature drops so rapidly that the plant does not have time to sufficiently reharden.

Continue reading this article ›

Tags: , ,

Rock Valley Hay Auction for Thursday, Mar 11, 2017

Receipts:  91 loads    Last Week:  93 loads    Last Year:  94 loads

Compared to last week:   All classes sold lower, corn stalks higher.  Lower quality hay overall this week with light demand.  All sales FOB Rock Valley, Iowa, vicinity.

Alfalfa: Good:  Small Squares, 1 load 120.00; Large Rounds and Squares, 5 loads 80.00-92.50.  Fair:  Large Rounds and Squares, 15 loads 70.00-80.00.  Utility:  Large Rounds and Squares, 26 loads 60.00-70.00, 3 loads very poor 20.00-47.50.

Grass:  Premium:  Large Rounds and Squares, 3 loads 100.00-122.50; Small Squares, 1 load 125.00.  Good:  Large Rounds, 6 loads 65.00-80.00.

Fair:  Large Rounds, 10 loads 57.50-65.00.  Utility:  Large Rounds, 9 loads 35.00-52.50.

Alfalfa/Grass Mix:  Fair:  Large Rounds and Squares, 2 loads 60.00- 62.50; Small Squares, 1 load 70.00.

Straw:  Large Rounds, 2 loads 60.00-65.00

Cornstalks:  Large Rounds, 7 loads 35.00-62.50, mostly 35.00-47.50.

Tags: ,

The current World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) were released today.

The 2017 milk production forecast is raised as milk cow numbers are expected to increase more rapidly. However, growth in milk per cow is reduced on January data. Dairy exports on a fat basis for 2017 are unchanged, while skim-solids basis exports are lowered on expected strong competition in international skim milk powder markets.

Both fat basis and skim-solids basis imports forecasts are unchanged. Skim-solids basis ending stocks are forecast higher for 2017 on higher production of dairy products and weaker exports.

Fat-basis ending stocks are unchanged. Historical milk production and stock estimates reflect recently released revisions. The cheese price forecast for 2017 is reduced as stocks of cheese are high and are expected to pressure prices. The butter price forecast is raised on continued demand strength. The nonfat dry milk price is forecast lower on expectations of slower export growth due to increased competition from global competitors. The whey price forecast is raised reflecting recent market strength.

The Class III price is raised as the higher whey price more than outweighs the reduced cheese price. The Class IV price forecast is lowered, reflecting a weaker nonfat dry milk price which more than offsets a higher forecast butter price.

The all milk price for 2017 is forecast at $17.80 to $18.40 per cwt.

Extension Specialists, including myself will be at the Rock Rapids Farm and Home show this afternoon. Beef specialist Beth Doran and myself will be there at 5:30 pm. Stop by and introduce yourself and let’s talk cows!

Rock Valley Hay Auction report for Monday, Mar 6, 2017

Receipts:  29 loads    Last Week:  32 loads    Year Ago:   39 Loads

Compared to last week:  Alfalfa hay slightly higher, lower quality grass hay offered and market lower as well.  Prices dollars per ton, except where noted.  All sales FOB Rock Valley, Iowa, vicinity.

Alfalfa:  Good:  Large Rounds, 2 loads 90.00.  Fair:  Large Rounds and Squares, 7 loads 75.00-85.00.  Utility:  Large Rounds, 1 load 60.00.

Grass:  Premium:  Large Rounds, 1 load 105.00.  Good:  Small Squares, 1 load 90.00.  Fair:  Large Rounds and Squares, 10 loads 60.00-77.50.

Utility:  Large Rounds, 5 loads 50.00-57.50.

Straw:  Large Rounds, 1 load 57.50.

Corn Stalks:  Large Rounds, 1 load 37.50.

ISDA will be awarding 14 college scholarships of $500 each for the 2017 fall semester. To be eligible for a scholarship, you must be the child or grandchild of a current ISDA member OR be an employee or the child of an employee on a dairy farm which belongs to ISDA. Applicants must also be attending college full time (or plan to attend full time). If you are not currently an ISDA member or need to renew your membership, you can find a membership application at or contact Sue Ann Claudon, ISDA Executive Director at  515-965-4626. When application and essay are totally complete, please email to or mail to ISDA, Scholarship Application, 101 NE Trilein Dr., Ankeny, IA 50021


The Midwest Dairy Association Industry Relations Internship Program provides an excellent opportunity for students interested in communications, public relations, marketing, food science or agribusiness. The intern must positively represent Midwest Dairy Association objectives as they gain practical experience in communication, public relations and marketing programs for dairy products.

Continue reading this article ›